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Bring Personal Finance to “Life” and Increase Accountability Outcomes. Karon L. Tomerlin, Aurora High School MBEA/MO-ACTE Summer 2007 [email protected] Is there actually a problem in education today?. Are you tired of low student achievement and their lack of motivation?.

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Bring Personal Finance to “Life” and Increase Accountability Outcomes

Karon L. Tomerlin, Aurora High School

MBEA/MO-ACTE Summer 2007

[email protected]

Is there actually a problem in education today?

Are you tired of low student achievement and their lack of motivation?

Benefit of Rigor and Relevance

  • Increase the impact of personal finance by planning activities using the rigor and relevance framework.

  • Prepare your students for life and for testing.

Why bother?

  • Significant literacy deficit overall impacts ability to learn and master critical skills

  • Personal financial literacy deficit impacts both personal and national economic effectiveness

Why are We Dragging Our Heels?

  • No Time for Planning

  • Little Time for Implementation

  • Unclear Strategy

  • Low Student or Teacher Initiative

  • Not a Clear Understanding of Rigor

  • No Consistency


  • For every 100 ninth graders (Center for Higher Education Management Systems, 2003)

    • 67 graduate from high school

    • 38 enter college

    • 26 still enrolled after their sophomore year

    • 18 graduate from college in six years

  • 82 percent of students reported that they would have worked harder if a teacher would have required it.

Financial Facts

“The Truth about Credit Card Debt,” Liz Pulliam Weston,

  • The average American carries more than $8,000 in credit card debt.

  • In reality, most Americans owe nothing to credit card companies.

  • Most households that carry balances owe $2,000 or less.

  • Only about 1 in 20 American households owes $8,000 or more on credit cards.

  • These figures are from the Federal Reserves 2001 Survey of Consumer Finances, one of the most comprehensive assessments of what Americans own and owe.

Future Trends

  • Today’s ninth graders will graduate in 2011.

  • What trends will affect the world they will enter ?

  • What will the educated student look like in the year 2030 ?

    How much time have you spent considering these questions ?

Ask Me.....

“How will I ever use what I’m learning today?”

What changes can we make?

  • Keep it “fresh”

  • Update for relevance to student lifestyles/backgrounds

  • Encourage social-appropriateness for career success (networking)

  • Look at what you do: “ real world?” versus “it’s on the test!”

“Bottom Line” Literacy

  • Results from relevance of content/strategy to lifestyle, background, and future needs

  • Emphasizes process learning

  • Leads to independent learning

What can we do?

  • Provide access to a variety of materials

  • Use instructional strategies to stimulate interest in more complex material

  • Implement high quality assessments to show strengths/weaknesses of students and professional learning needs of teachers

  • Model and teach reading and math competencies and study strategies across the content areas

  • Team stronger readers with struggling readers for one on one

What Is Rigor?

  • Deep Immersion in Subject

  • Uses Sophisticated Texts, Tools and Language

  • Real-World Settings

  • Complex, Messy Problems

  • Experience is Reflective and Intimate

  • Active Learning

  • Observe and Maintain Information

  • Challenge Assumptions

  • Learning and Work Never Completed

Rigor/Relevance Framework





Student Thinks and Works







Teacher Works





Rigor & Relevance Framework

  • Focus on the Right Standards

    • What is on the Standard/National Tests

    • What Matters in Life

  • Trim Down Curriculum

    • What Must They Know

    • What They Need to Know

    • …All of the Rest

Rigor/Relevance Framework











Knowledge Taxonomy

6. Evaluation

5. Synthesis

4. Analysis

3. Application

2. Comprehension

1. Recall Knowledge

Application Model

5 Application to real-world unpredictable situations

4 Application to real-world predictable situations

3 Application across disciplines

2 Application within discipline

1 Knowledge of one discipline

How can we get it together?

  • Work with what you already use

  • Determine where it fits in

  • Look at adjustments that will move it from it’s current quadrant to the next level.

Students can do no better than the assignments they’re given

Planning Instruction

McREL – Marzano Research

  • 3,093 benchmarks on national standards

  • X average 5 hours per standard

  • = 15,465 hours to teach all skills

  • K-12 IF a student misses NO days and takes NO lunch, he/will have 9,042 hours at school.

    Joanna Kister, SREB Consultant, Dallas, TX, January 18-20, 2007

Heidi Hayes Jacobs

Given the limited time you have with your students, curriculum design has become more and more an issue of deciding what you won’t teach as well as what you will teach. You cannot do it all. As a designer, you must choose the essential.”

Joanna Kister, SREB Consultant, Dallas, TX, January 18-20, 2007





Kiplinger Personal Finance


Web Sites


  • Books

  • Personal Financial Literacy (SW)

  • Managing Your Personal Finances (SW)

  • Personal Finance (Glencoe)

  • Financial Planning Program (NEFE)

  • Choice Chance Control (State Farm)


  • The “R”s of R-Factor Learning

  • Relationships- Why do I need to know this? Will it be on the test?

  • Rigor- How challenging is it for students?

  • Relevance- How real? Connections?

  • Responsibilities- Who does what?

Current Practices

Example Multiple Performances for Single Standard Reading - H.S Level

Standard: Identify, collect and/or select pertinent information while reading

ARead science experiment and identify necessary materials to perform experiment.

BLocate and read a current article on biotechnology.

CRead and analyze three original newspaper articles from World War II and identify reasons for opposition to US entry into the war.

DResearch pertinent information related to the El Nino weather pattern and propose possible family vacation destinations.



Student Performance

Example Multiple Performances for Single Standard Personal Finance/Reading - H.S Level

Standard: Identify, collect and/or select pertinent information while reading

ARead chapter on types of investments and identify necessary terms related to each.

BLocate and read a current article on a selected type of investment instrument.

CRead and analyze three original magazine articles identify strategies for investing.

DResearch pertinent information related to a given case and propose possible investment options for the situation.



Student Performance

Example Multiple Performances for Single StandardMath - M.S Level

Standard: Use statistical measures, including central tendency, to describe and compare data

ACalculate mean, mode, median on a set of data.

BCollect data on braking distance of automobiles at various speeds and determine averages.

CSelect the best measure of central tendency and calculate data to support a specific intent.

DDevelop a statistical sampling plan for determining number of products which do not meet quality standards.



Student Performance

Example Multiple Performances for Single StandardPersonal Finance/Math - HS Level

Standard: Use real numbers to solve problems.

ACalculate current balance on a check book register.

BCollect data on transactions for one month and determine current balance.

CComplete a reconciliation for a bank statement.

DAudit a bank reconciliation case before completing all transactions and reconciliation for a second month.



Student Performance

Application Model

Decision Tree

Is it Application?

  • If NO

    If YES - Is it real world?

  • If NO and one discipline

  • If NO and interdisciplinary

    If YES - Is it unpredictable?

  • If NO

  • If YES

  • Level 1

  • Level 2

  • Level 3

  • Level 4

  • Level 5

Relevance Connection

  • Critique your “assignments” and begin to tweak them for higher levels of rigor and relevance.

  • Self-Reflect: who is doing all the work? (Flat line teachers)

Strategies for Increasing Rigor?Washor and Mojkowski, Educational Leadership, 2007

  • Work with Passions and Interests

  • Connect Learning to Real-World Contexts

  • Build Relationships

  • Address the Head, Hand, Heart, and Health

  • Assess Rigorously

Quadrant A Strategies

  • Guided Practice

  • Lecture

  • Memorization

  • Games

  • Recognition & Rewards

  • Review/Re-teach

Quadrant B Strategies

  • Community Service

  • Demonstration

  • Instructional Technology

  • Simulation/Role Play

  • Internship

  • Total Physical Response

  • Video

Quadrant C Strategies

  • Brainstorming

  • Compare/Contrast

  • Literature

  • Research

  • Socratic Seminar

  • Teacher Question

  • Writing

Quadrant D Strategies

  • Community Service

  • Comparative Learning

  • Inquiry

  • Instructional Technology

  • Internships

  • Presentations/Exhibitions

  • Problem-Based Learning

  • Project Design

  • Work-Based Learning

Rigor & Relevance Framework Worksheet

  • On this worksheet think about the “assignments” you ask your students or teachers to complete. Try to write a few assignments in each of the framework boxes. Consider how you might alter the assignment for a higher level of learning.

Student Learning









Student Learning

Rigorous and Relevant Instruction



How Well





Rigor & Relevance Framework:A Useful Tool to Evaluate

  • Curriculum

  • Instruction

  • Assessment

  • Activities

To Learn About Additional Training in Rigor and Relevance (R-Factor Learning) Contact:

Dr. Barbara Harrison, Director

Missouri Center for Career Education


Willard Wirtz

There aren’t two worlds -- education and work, there is one world -- life.

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